Our website traffic easily broke all records for the month of June, and these high levels have now continued into July, suggesting that the huge rise produced by the initial wave of Black Lives Matters protests may be more than temporary. It appears that many new readers first discovered our alternative webzine at that point, and quite a few have stayed on as regular visitors.
This represents a sharp turnaround after May, when our near-simultaneous banning by both Google and Facebook at the beginning of that month caused our previously strong traffic to decline by 15% or more.
A longer-term factor that may be strengthening our position is the unprecedented wave of ideological purges that have swept our country since early June, with prominent figures in the intellectual and media firmaments being especially hard hit. When opinion-leaders become fearful of uttering even slightly controversial words, they either grow silent or only mouth the most saccharine homilies, thereby forcing many of their erstwhile readers to look elsewhere for more candid discussions. And our own webzine is about as “elsewhere” as one could possibly get.
Take, for example, the New York Times, more than ever our national newspaper of record. For the last few years, one of its top figures had been Editorial Page Editor James Bennet, who had previously run The Atlantic, and he was widely considered a leading candidate to assume the same position at the Gray Lady after next year’s scheduled retirement of the current top editor. Indeed, with his brother serving as U.S. Senator from Colorado—and a serious if second-rank presidential candidate—the Lifestyle section of the Washington Post had already hailed the Bennet brothers as the potential saviors of the American establishment.
But then his paper published an op-ed by an influential Republican senator endorsing President Trump’s call for a harsh crackdown on riots and looting, and a Twitter mob of outraged junior Times staffers organized a revolt. The mission of the NYT Opinion Pages is obviously to provide a diversity of opinions, but Bennet was quickly purged.
A similar fate befell the highly-regarded longtime editor of the Philadelphia Inquirerafter his paper ran a headline considered insufficiently respectful to black rioters. Michigan State University researchers had raised doubts about the accepted narrative of black deaths at the hands of police, and physicist Stephen Hsu, the Senior Vice President who had supported their work, was forced to resign his administrative position as a consequence.
Numerous other figures of lesser rank have been purged, their careers and livelihoods destroyed for Tweeting out a phrase such as “All Lives Matter,” whose current classification as “hate speech” might have stunned even George Orwell. Or perhaps a spouse or other close relative had denounced the black rioters. The standards of acceptable discourse are changing so rapidly that positions which were completely innocuous just a few weeks ago have suddenly become controversial or even forbidden, with punishments sometimes inflicted on a retroactive basis.
I am hardly alone in viewing this situation with great concern. Just last week, some 150 prominent American writers, academics, and intellectuals published an open letter in Harpers expressing their grave concern over protecting our freedom of speech and thought.
Admittedly, the credentials of some of the names on the list were rather doubtful. After all, David Frum and various hard-core Neocons had themselves led the effort to purge from the media all critics of Bush’s disastrous Iraq War, and more recently they have continued to do with same with regard to our irrational hostility towards Putin’s Russia. But the principled histories of other signers such as Noam Chomsky partially compensated for the inclusion of such unpleasant opportunists.
Although the Harpers statement attracted many stars of our liberal firmament, apparently few people read Harpers these days, with its website traffic being just a tenth of our own. Therefore, the reaction in the media itself was a much more important factor, and this seems to have been decidedly mixed. 150 rather obscure activists soon issued a contrasting statement, which major outlets such as NYT, CNN, and the Los Angeles Times seem to have accorded equal or greater weight, hardly suggesting that the ideological tide has started to turn.
Back a couple of years ago, there was a popular joke going around Chinese social media in which Chairman Mao came back to life with all sorts of questions about the modern world. Among other things, he was informed his disastrous Cultural Revolution had shifted to America, a prescient observation given the events of the last few weeks:
The controversial May 25th death of a black man named George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody soon set off the greatest nationwide wave of protests, riots, and looting in at least two generations, and the once-placid hometown of the Mary Tyler Moore Show alone suffered some five hundred million dollars of damage. Some of the main political reactions have been especially surprising, as the newly elevated activists of the Black Lives Matter movement have received massive media support for their demands that local urban police departments be “defunded,” a proposal so bizarre that it had previously been almost unknown.
Statues, monuments, and other symbolic representations of traditional American history quickly became a leading target. Hubert Humphrey’s Minneapolis has long been an extremely liberal bastion of the heavily Scandinavian Upper Midwest, having no ties to the South or slavery, but Floyd’s death soon launched an unprecedented national effort to eradicate all remaining Confederate memorials and other Southern cultural traces throughout our society. Popular country music groups such as the Dixie Chicks and Lady Antebellum had freely recorded their songs for decades, but they were now suddenly forced to change their names in frantic haste.
And although this revolutionary purge began with Confederacy, it soon extended to include much of our entire national history, with illustrious former occupants of the White House being the most prominent targets. Woodrow Wilson ranked as Princeton University’s most famous alumnus and its former president, but his name was quickly scraped off the renowned public policy school, while the Natural History Museum of New York is similarly removing a statue of Theodore Roosevelt. Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant had together won the Civil War and abolished black slavery, but their statues around the country were vandalized or ordered removed. The same fate befell Andrew Jackson along with the author of the Star Spangled Banner, our national anthem.
The leading heroes of the American Republic from its birth in 1776 face “cancellation” and this sudden tidal wave of attacks has clearly gained considerable elite backing. The New York Times carries enormous weight in such circles, and last Tuesday their lead opinion piece called for the Jefferson Memorial to be replaced by a towering statue of a black woman, while one of their regular columnists has repeatedly demanded that all monuments honoring George Washington suffer a similar fate. Stacy Abrams, often mentioned as one of Joe Biden’s leading Vice Presidential choices, had previously made the destruction of Georgia’s historic Stone Mountain Memorial part of her campaign platform, so we now seem only a step or two away from credible political demands that Mount Rushmore be dynamited Taliban-style.
The original roots of our country were Anglo-Saxon and this heritage remained dominant during its first century or more, but other strands in our national tapestry are suffering similar vilification. Christopher Columbus discovered the New World for Spain, but he has became a hated and despised figure across our country, so perhaps in the near future his only surviving North American monument will be the huge statue honoring him in the heart of Mexico City. Father Junipero Serra founded Hispanic California and a few years ago was canonized as the first and only Latin American saint, but his statues have been toppled and his name already removed from Stanford University buildings. At the time we acquired the sparsely-populated American Southwest, the bulk of our new Hispanic population was concentrated in New Mexico, but the founding father of that region has now had his monument attacked and vandalized. Cervantes, author of Don Quixote, is considered the greatest writer in the Spanish language, and his statue was also vandalized.
Perhaps these trends will abate and the onrushing tide of cultural destruction may begin to recede. But at present there seems a serious possibility that the overwhelming majority of America’s leading historical figures prior to the political revolution of the 1930s may be destined for the scrap heap. A decade ago, President Obama and most prominent Democrats opposed Gay Marriage, but just a few years later, the CEO of Mozilla was forced to resign when his past political contribution to a California initiative taking that same position came to light, and today private individuals might easily lose their jobs at many corporations for expressing such views. Thus, one might easily imagine that within five or ten years, any public expressions of admiration for Washington or Jefferson might be considered by many as bordering on “hate speech,” and carry severe social and employment consequences. Our nation seems to be suffering the sort of fate normally inflicted upon a conquered people, whose new masters seek to break their spirit and stamp out any notions of future resistance.
A good example of this growing climate of fear came a couple of weeks ago when a longtime blogger going under the name “Scott Alexander” deleted his entire website and its millions of words of accumulated archives because the New York Times was about to run an article revealing his true identity. I had only been slightly aware of the SlateStarCodex blogsite and the “rationalist” community it had gradually accumulated, but the development was apparently significant enough to provoke a long article in the New Yorker.
The target of the alleged witch-hunt was hardly any sort of right-winger. He was reportedly a liberal Jewish psychiatrist living in Berkeley, whose most notable piece of writing had been a massive 30,000 word refutation of neo-reactionary thought. But because he was willing to entertain ideas and contributors outside the tight envelope of the politically-correct canon, he believed that his life would be destroyed if his name became known.
Conservative commenter Tucker Carlson has recently attracted the highest ratings in cable history for populist positions, some of which have influenced President Trump. But just a couple of days ago, his top writer, a certain Blake Neff, was forced to resign after CNN revealed his years of pseudonymous remarks on a rightwing forum, even though the most egregious of these seemed no worse than somewhat crude racially-charged humor.
Our own website attracts thousands of commenters, many of whom have left remarks vastly more controversial than anything written by Neff let alone Alexander, and these two incidents naturally inspired several posts by blogger Steve Sailer, which attracted many hundreds of worried comments in the resulting threads. Although I could entirely understood that many members of our community were fearful of being “doxxed” by the media, I explained why I thought the possibility quite unlikely.
Although it’s been a few years since my name last appeared on the front page of the New York Times, I am still at least a bit of a public figure, and I would say that many of the articles I have published under my own name have been at least 100 times as “controversial” as anything written by the unfortunate “Scott Alexander.” The regular monthly traffic to our website is six or seven times as great as that which flowed to SlateStarCodex prior to its sudden disappearance, and I suspect that our influence has also been far greater. Any serious journalist who wanted to get in touch with me could certainly do so, and I have been freely given many interviews in the past, while hundreds of reasonably prominent writers, academics, and other intellectuals have spent years on my regular distribution list.
Tracking down the identity of an anonymous commenter who once or twice made doubtful remarks is extremely hard work, and at the end of the process you will have probably netted yourself a pretty small fish. Surely any eager scalp-hunter in the media would prefer to casually mine the hundreds of thousands of words in my articles, which would provide a veritable cornucopia of exceptionally explosive material, all fully searchable and conveniently organized by particular taboos. Yet for years the entire journalistic community has scrupulously averted their eyes from such mammoth potential scandal. And the likely explanation may provide some important insights into the dynamics of ideological conflict in the media.
Activist organizations often take the lead in locating controversial statements, which they then pass along to their media allies for ritual denunciation, and much of my own material would seem especially provocative to the fearsome ADL. Yet oddly enough, that organization seemed quite reluctant to engage with me, and only after my repeated baiting did they finally issue a rather short and perfunctory critique in 2018, which lacked any named author. But even that lackluster effort afforded me an opening to respond with my own 7,300 word essay highlighting the very unsavory origins and activities of that controversial organization. After that exchange, they went back into hiding and have remained there ever since.
In my lengthy analysis of the true history of World War II, I described what I called “the Lord Voldemort Effect,” explaining why so much of our mainstream source material should be treated with great care:
In the popular Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort, the great nemesis of the young magicians, is often identified as “He Who Must Not Be Named,” since the mere vocalization of those few particular syllables might bring doom upon the speaker. Jews have long enjoyed enormous power and influence over the media and political life, while fanatic Jewish activists demonstrate hair-trigger eagerness to denounce and vilify all those suspected of being insufficiently friendly towards their ethnic group. The combination of these two factors has therefore induced such a “Lord Voldemort Effect” regarding Jewish activities in most writers and public figures. Once we recognize this reality, we should become very cautious in analyzing controversial historical issues that might possibly contain a Jewish dimension, and also be particularly wary of arguments from silence.
However, even dread Lord Voldemorts may shrink from a terrifying Lord Voldemort of their own, and I think that this website falls into that category. The ADL and various other powerful organizations may have quietly issued an edict that absolutely forbids the media outlets they influence from mentioning our existence. I believe there is strong evidence in favor of this remarkable hypothesis.
Among Trump’s surviving advisors, Stephen Miller provokes some of the most intense hostility, and last November the SPLC and its media allies made a concerted attempt to force his resignation based upon some of his private emails, which had promoted several controversial posts by Steve Sailer. The resulting firestorm was discussed on this website, and I analyzed some of the strange anomalies:
Just as might be expected, the whole SPLC attack is “guilt by association,” and Ctrl-F reveals a full 14 references to VDare, with the website characterized in very harsh terms. Yet although there are several mentions of Steve and his writings, there is absolutely no reference to this webzine, despite being Steve’s primary venue.
Offhand, this might seem extremely odd. My own guess is that much of the material we publish is 10x as “controversial” as anything VDare has ever run, and many of my own personal articles, including those that have spent over a year on the Home page, might be up in the 30x or 40x potency range. Moreover, I think our traffic these days is something like 10x that of VDare, seemingly making us an extremely juicy target.
Now admittedly, I don’t know that Miller fellow, but the horrifying VDare post that Miller supposedly shared was actually republished by VDare from this website. And that would surely have made it very, very easy for the SPLC to use the connection as a opening to begin cataloguing the unspeakingly horrifying list of transgressions we regularly feature, easily expanding the length of their attack on Miller by adding another 6,000 words. Yet the silence has been totally deafening. Puzzling…
Here’s my own hypothesis…
As everyone knows, there are certain “powerful groups” in our society that so terrify members of the media and political worlds that they receive the “Lord Voldemort Treatment,” with mainstream individuals being terrified that merely speaking the name would result in destruction. Indeed, the SPLC is one of the primary enforcers of that edict.
However, my theory is that even those dread Lord Voldemorts greatly fear an even more dreadful Lord Voldemort of their own, namely this webzine. The SPLC writer knew perfectly well that mere mention of The Unz Review might ensure his destruction. I’d guess that the ADL/SPLC/AIPAC has made this prohibition absolutely clear to everyone in the media/political worlds.
Given that Miller’s main transgression was his promotion of posts originally published on this website, the media could have easily associated him with the rest of our material, much of which was sufficiently explosive to have almost certainly forced his resignation. Yet when the journalists and activists weighed the likelihood of destroying Trump’s most hated advisor against the danger of mentioning our existence, the latter factor was still judged the stronger, allowing Miller to survive.
This hypothesis was strongly supported by a second incident later that same month. We had previously published an article by Prof. Eric Rasmusen of Indiana University, and I read in my morning Times that he had suddenly become embroiled in a major Internet controversy, with a chorus of angry critics seeking to have him removed. According to the article, he had apparently promoted the “vile and stupid” views of some anti-feminist website in one of his Tweets, which had come to the attention of an enraged activist. The resulting firestorm of denunciations on Twitter had been viewed 2.5 million times, provoking a major academic controversy in the national media.
Being curious about what had happened, I contacted Rasmusen to see whether he might want to submit a piece regarding the controversy, which he did. But to my utter astonishment, I discovered that the website involved had actually been our own, a fact that I never would never have suspected from the extremely vague and circuitous discussion provided in the newspaper. Apparently, the old-fashioned Who-What-Where provisions of the Times style manual had been quietly amended to prohibit providing any hint of our existence even when we were at the absolute center of one of their 1,000 word news stories.
Highly-controversial ideas backed by strong evidence may prove dangerously contagious, and the political/media strategy pursued by the ADL, the Times, and numerous other organs of the elite establishment seems perfectly rational. Since our Bill of Rights still provides considerable protection for freedom of speech, the next-best alternative is to institute a strict cordon sanitaire, intended to strictly minimize the number of individuals who might become infected.
Our webzine and my own articles are hardly the only victims of this sort of strategy—once dubbed “the Blackout” by eminent historian Harry Elmer Barnes—whose other targets often possess the most respectable of establishmentarian credentials.
Last month marked the 31st anniversary of the notorious 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre, and elite media coverage was especially extensive this year due to our current global confrontation with China. The New York Times devoted most of two full pages to a photo-laden recapitulation while the Wall Street Journal gave it front-page treatment, with just those two publications alone running some six separate articles and columns on those horrifying events from three decades ago.
Yet back in the 1990s, the former Beijing bureau chief of the Washington Post, who had personally covered the events, published a long article in the prestigious Columbia Journalism Review entitled The Myth of Tiananmen, in which he publicly admitted that the supposed “massacre” was merely a fraudulent concoction of careless journalists and dishonest propagandists. At least some of our top editors and journalists must surely be aware of these facts, and feel guilty about promoting a long-debunked hoax of the late 1980s. But any mention of those widely-known historical facts is strictly forbidden in the media, lest American readers become confused and begin to consider an alternative narrative.
Russia possesses a nuclear arsenal at least as powerful as our own, and the total break in our relations began when Congress passed the Magnitsky Act in 2012, targeting important Russian leaders. Yet none of our media outlets have ever been willing to admit that the facts used to justify that very dangerous decision seem to have been entirely fraudulent, as recounted in the article we recently published by Prof. John Ryan.
Similarly, our sudden purge from both Google and Facebook came just days after my own long article presenting the strong evidence that America’s ongoing Covid-19 disaster was the unintentional blowback from our own extremely reckless biowarfare attack against China (and Iran). Over 130,000 of our citizens have already died and our daily life has been wrecked, so the American people might grow outraged if they began to suspect that this huge national disaster was entirely self-inflicted.
And the incident that sparked our current national upheaval includes certain elements that our media has scrupulously avoided mentioning. The knee-neck hold used against George Floyd was standard police procedure in Minneapolis and many other cities, and had apparently been employed thousands of times across our country in recent years with virtually no fatalities. Meanwhile, Floyd’s official autopsy indicated that he had lethal levels of Fentanyl and other illegal drugs in his system at the time of his demise. Perhaps the connection between these two facts is more than purely coincidental, and if they became widely known, popular sentiments might shift.
Finally, our alternative media webzine is pleased to have recently added two additional columnists together with major portions of their archives, which will help to further broaden our perspective.
Larry Romanoff has been a regular contributor to the Global Research website, most recently focusing on the Coronavirus outbreak in China, and earlier this year he published an article pointed to the considerable evidence that the virus had originated in the U.S., which was cited by Chinese officials and soon became a flashpoint in American-Chinese relations. After having been viewed millions of times, that piece and several others seem to have disappeared from their original venue, but along with the rest of his writings, they are now conveniently available on our own website.
For the last quarter-century, Jared Taylor has probably been America’s most prominent White Nationalist writer. Although Black Nationalists such as Al Sharpton have cable television shows and boast of many dozens of visits to the White House, the growing climate of ideological repression has caused Taylor and his American Renaissance organization to be deplatformed from YouTube, Twitter, and numerous other Internet services. One of his main writers is Gregory Hood, whom we have now added as a regular columnist, together with dozens of his pieces over the last few years.
Source: Unz Review